By JULLIE Y. DAZA
A man of few words, Alfredo Lim is all prepped and eager to ride once again, protect you like Dirty Harry and serve you like City Hall is supposed to. Mayor Lim, in my book alias Lim Kuan Yew until the passing into history of Lee Kuan Yew, the great Singaporean statesman, is back on the saddle to run the race of a lifetime.
Fred Lim and Juan Ponce Enrile are the oldest candidates in the May elections, the former to reclaim City Hall and the latter to return to his seat in the Senate. Yes, both men are in their 90’s but only fools will say that they are too old to do the work cut out for them, which work puts them a cut above the rest. At their venerable age, you don’t think “dynasty” at the mention of their names.
When I saw Mayor Fred at a Rotary function last year, he was hale and hearty, his back as ramrod-straight as ever, his hair silvery white and eyes sharp as ever. Even then, he was sure that he was going to challenge the former mayor of San Juan and retake Manila. Some weeks ago when I spoke to him on the phone to confirm his reentry into the fray, he said in his familiar chief-of-police voice, “Aba, oo!”
I teased, “Not afraid to win the vote at suppertime but lose the count at breakfast?” From there he reprised a summary of how he lost the race by 2,500 votes and why it was necessary to brace for another round. Unlike JPE who’s banking on social media, Mayor Fred will stick to the old-fashioned house-to-house, in-your-face getting-you-to-know-me style of campaigning, morn to night. It’s his chance to show Manilans how healthy he is, fit and able: “I walk every day anyway, I might as well visit them.”
There are 896 barangays in Manila – that’s a lot of doors to knock on. Along my route from QC to Ermita, I haven’t seen any of his tarps or posters, not even a leaflet flying in the wind. He’s probably waiting for the campaign to officially begin (local level), and, he’s not about to give City Hall cause for tearing down whatever props he may have up his sleeve.
Unlike candidates with an eloquence of promises, Mayor Fred will not brag about what he intends to do. He’s banking on Manilans remembering what he did and what he’s done, and missing him like an uncle who’s been away too long.